contentedsouls

Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

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Digoin aqueduct to Coulanges (Fri 15/Sat 16 April)

Posted by contentedsouls on 17/04/2016

10km, 1 lock, 2 hours

We awoke Friday morning to more showers than sun. I had a plan (which ignored the rain) and thought that we would cycle into Digoin and stock up with veg, meat and cheese at the little market before having some (long overdue) lunch out; after all, 2 birthdays and a wedding anniversary had been ignored in the interests of finishing the titivation of MR.

G also had a plan which, unfortunately, didn’t co-incide with mine. He didn’t want to leave the boat unattended on pins and also needed to cycle out of town to buy a new sledgehammer as the handle on ours had snapped the night before whilst banging in the aforementioned pins. Somewhere about here my brain stopped functioning (and the grumps took over) because we only needed to move 1/2 km further on and tie off on the stakes that we knew were there; but it didn’t occur to either of us. G went off for the sledgehammer and beer whilst I walked the dogs. I set off on my bike when he returned, but the bike was more of a hindrance than a help – I had to walk it across the aqueduct as the water rushing below me made dizzy and then, when I got to town, I couldn’t get it up the steps from the tow path so I had to go passed and come back again. By this time it was 11.45 leaving me 15 minutes before the market and shops closed. In the interim I had also discovered that I’d left the camera memory card back on board (hence, no photos). The lady on the market stall was downright unfriendly; she was wet and cold (like me) and clearly wanted to go home – they’d no mushrooms, no carrots, no parsnips and no violet garlic. I asked if she had any root ginger – gingembre frais, a pronunciation I’ve had no problems with in the past – and she started playing the, ‘your French is crap and I don’t understand a bloody word you say,’ game and she called her boss over who knew immediately what I wanted. It’s a veg stall – how many things does she sell that sound even vaguely like gingembre and they didn’t have any anyway. By now my grumps had reached the stage of inconsolable and I wheeled my bike most of the way back again with hardly any of the things I needed.

It is a Grand Prix weekend so, if we’d moved up onto the stakes, I could have had a lovely potter around the shops on Saturday morning (closer so no bike required) and there was also a lovely nature reserve down by the Loire to walk Muttley on Sunday but, as I said earlier, my brain had stop functioning. Weirdly, G suggested we moved on and we uhmmed and ahhed and then tossed a coin and left at 1pm – I still have no idea why we even considered it!

When we’d left the Roanne et Digoin Canal, the lockie said we needed to ring to book passage, but the book said that there was free passage, so we didn’t know if we would be able to get through the two locks between us and our new destination; the lake at Pierrefitte-sur-Loire. Not long after we’d pulled pins, we had a hire boat catch us up which increased our chances as they were small enough to fit in behind us and had probably booked. My good humour returned and we were blessed with intermittent sunshine and some lovely views over the Loire valley whilst the dogs hogged the rear seats (where I’m meant to be sitting sipping cocktails in a flowery dress and floppy hat).

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Shortly after leaving the first of the two locks we spotted a nice little mooring in the village of Coulanges; it was animal safe and a quick look at the book showed that there was a bakery, shop, bar, restaurant and a path down to the Loire valley. We asked the hire boat guys to tell the lockie of our change of plans and pulled over for the weekend.

Setting off with Muttley to explore it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t reach the track down to the Loire – the only access being via a busy road with no pavement – and that the locals had given up commerce in favour of gardening.

The restaurant is now a private residence and my presence with a camera clearly peed off the lady of the house who shouted angry words at me out of her window. Had my French been up to it my grumps had returned sufficiently to have hurled a few back – but it wasn’t, so I didn’t. Note to self: must learn some abusive French.

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The gardens of the other closed premises were equally well tended

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On Saturday morning the only option to entertain Muttley and I (whilst Grand Prix qualifying was happening) was an up and back along the towpath, which we both hate, so I decided to add some interest by taking him out for a bike ride – he didn’t have a bike though. He wasn’t that impressed with the cycling business (a bit like me really) and we abandoned the bike when we found a rather nice track and decided to follow it.

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These were the first lambs I’ve seen here; you don’t see sheep very often and we’ve only ever seen one pig – pork is very popular (unlike lamb) but the poor sausages (sorry!) are kept in sheds. I suspect that it may have been quite a long while since anyone lived in this house.

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This lovely old building used to be the mill house but is, rather strangely, situated a good 400 metres from the present course of the river which disappears under the canal before re-joining the Loire.

P1140551P1140552P1140553P1140554It will come as no surprise to you that we moved on again this morning.

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9 Responses to “Digoin aqueduct to Coulanges (Fri 15/Sat 16 April)”

  1. Kevin TOO said

    OK so one of you had ‘a cunning plan’ but which one of you was cast
    as Baldrick, so that the other could be Blackadder… I could hazard a guess… LOL

    So then, Mrs Grumpy, have you actually got a flowery dress and floppy hat?
    I don’t recall seeing your legs in anything but denim, nowt wrong wi’that lass 😉

    It is a bit of a bugger when a small town puts up the shutters and gives up such a shame
    for the locals and visitors alike, I suppose it’s all down to profit or loss on the accounts 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t possibly answer your first question!

      I don’t have a flowery dress but I did actually buy a ‘girly’ summer frock – I haven’t actually worn it yet, but I did (gasp in surprised amazement here) IRON it before I put it into Francoise’ wardrobes whilst I unboxed the (previously never used) iron to press MR’s freshly laundered curtains. Nothing even approaching a floppy hat….yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. andywindy said

    I can imagine you in a Floppy Hat, sitting there at the Stern drinking your wine in your Comfy Jeans, but a Flowerey dress would almost definitely want Ironing. Now please don’t think for a moment that I think you’d look anything but wonderful in a frock, but I guess I get the impression that you’d be more relaxed in your Jeans. (See Kevin, my self preservation instincts are working again! )
    ooh I just want to get that Mill working again, such a waste to let a wonderful building like that fall to ruin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • See above re floppy dresses, flowery hats and irons lol! I’ll shock the pair of you one of these days!

      That mill was wonderful – perhaps we could muster a syndicate to re-furbish it and let it out as a Gite – incredibly strange how far it was from the river. I so wish my French was up to finding out it’s history.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. ianmccauley2014 said

    … and Graham in his safari suit presenting a plate of hors d’oeuvres. Cherish that dream. Good Luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jaqueline Biggs said

    We thought of you and missed you both this past weekend at Onley with the crew. xxx

    Like

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